SARS-CoV-2 Spike-specific binding and neutralizing antibodies, elicited either by natural infection or vaccination, have emerged as potential correlates of protection. An important question, however, is whether vaccine-elicited antibodies in humans provide direct, functional protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease. In this study, we explored directly the protective efficacy of human antibodies elicited by Ad26.COV2.S vaccination by adoptive transfer studies. IgG from plasma of Ad26.COV2.S vaccinated individuals was purified and transferred into naïve golden Syrian hamster recipients, followed by intra-nasal challenge of the hamsters with SARS-CoV-2. IgG purified from Ad26.COV2.S-vaccinated individuals provided dose-dependent protection in the recipient hamsters from weight loss following challenge. In contrast, IgG purified from placebo recipients provided no protection in this adoptive transfer model. Attenuation of weight loss correlated with binding and neutralizing antibody titers of the passively transferred IgG. This study suggests that Ad26.COV2.S-elicited antibodies in humans are mechanistically involved in protection against SARS-CoV-2.
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